The Daily Iowan

UI transportation director retires, reflects on storied career

UI+Parking+and+Transportation+Director+Dave+Ricketts+poses+for+a+portrait+in+his+office+in+the+West+Campus+Transportation+Center+on+Thursday%2C+Nov.+16%2C+2017.+Ricketts+began+working+as+a+Cambus+driver+43+years+ago.+During+his+time+as+director+Ricketts+has+overseen+60+transitions+for+parking+structures+from+building+to+surface+and+vice+versa.+%28Joseph+Cress%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
UI Parking and Transportation Director Dave Ricketts poses for a portrait in his office in the West Campus Transportation Center on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. Ricketts began working as a Cambus driver 43 years ago. During his time as director Ricketts has overseen 60 transitions for parking structures from building to surface and vice versa. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

UI Parking and Transportation Director Dave Ricketts poses for a portrait in his office in the West Campus Transportation Center on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. Ricketts began working as a Cambus driver 43 years ago. During his time as director Ricketts has overseen 60 transitions for parking structures from building to surface and vice versa. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

UI Parking and Transportation Director Dave Ricketts poses for a portrait in his office in the West Campus Transportation Center on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. Ricketts began working as a Cambus driver 43 years ago. During his time as director Ricketts has overseen 60 transitions for parking structures from building to surface and vice versa. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Katelyn Weisbrod, [email protected]

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Even the best bus runs out of fuel.

Dave Ricketts, who has been with the University of Iowa Parking and Transportation Department for 43 years, is hanging up the reins as the department’s director.

Today, which is Ricketts’ last day, every Cambus will rotate its route sign between route information and “Thank you, Dave, for 43 years.”

The Daily Iowan: Can you tell us about what your roles were before now?

Dave Ricketts: Sure, that’s the easy question. Well, my title is the director of Parking and Transportation — the department includes Cambus, the parking system, and the university fleet. The 34-bus fleet has been around since 1972 and has 170 employees, [who are] mostly students.

DI: You’ve been here for 43 years. Since that time, as you started as a driver for Cambus, what are some of the big things that have changed in terms of transportation on campus?

RELATED: Cambus looks west

Ricketts: Subtract 60 of the major buildings, and imagine there were roads in places you wouldn’t dream there were roads, and there are roads now that used to be buildings — so a lot of structural changes. So dramatic physical change, and enrollment is much larger now. Also, the hospital is a complete game changer for a campus — you come to a campus with a hospital, and that is the center of the Parking and Transportation universe, not the Pentacrest.

DI: So why did you choose to stick with it for 43 years?

Ricketts: I didn’t choose to come here and stay — it’s really fascinating work. A university campus is a very interesting place to work. Partly because of [students] and the constant change, and you generally work with pretty intelligent people. It’s also a research institution — if you have a job like mine, over time, you get to know people. You get to know people and what they do, and if you don’t have any concept of the research enterprise, it’s fascinating. It’s stunning what people do.

DI: What have been some of the challenges you’ve encountered?

Ricketts: When I gave my talk yesterday I used this example — it’s going to seem like ancient history, but I’ll just give you one example to make a story. Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories, up until ’87 or ’88, was a parking lot. So one of my first roles in parking was to deal with the loss of a very large parking lot. [The UI] wanted to put a building there, and we couldn’t afford to lose the parking, so we ended up taking out that parking lot and building the [Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories]. Imagine something like that happening 60 times; people have been parking somewhere for years, and they get used to it, and then everything changes. And then you have the social change as well — people drive more, they drive less; gas prices go up, they go down.

DI: What are you going to miss?

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About the Writer
Katelyn Weisbrod, Managing Editor

 

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @katelyn_eliz

Katelyn Weisbrod is the Managing Editor at The Daily Iowan. Katelyn is a senior at the University of Iowa and has been a part of the DI since her freshman year. She covered sustainability and environmental issues as a news reporter for one year, and served as news editor for a year. As managing editor, she focuses on digital strategy and production of long-form articles, while still reporting on environmental issues.

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